Cardiopulmonary resuscitation

CPR or cardiopulmonary resuscitation is a procedure that is performed during an emergency when the heart stops with the main objective of extending the lung functionality and circulation.

Importance of CPR

Even though there are several advancements in emergency cardiac care that helped improve the chances of survival among individuals who suffered from cardiac arrest, it still continues as the leading cause of death in different parts of the globe.

The common cause of death from heart attack among adults is the disturbance in the electrical rhythm of the heart known as ventricular fibrillation. The condition can be treated, but it requires the application of an electrical shock to the chest known as defibrillation. In case a defibrillator is not available, brain death can occur in less than 10 minutes. One way to buy time until a defibrillator is accessible is to deliver simulated breathing and circulation by carrying out cardiopulmonary resuscitation.

Once CPR is given early to an individual suffering from cardiopulmonary arrest, there is a higher chance of a successful resuscitation. When CPR is performed, the individual will receive oxygenated blood to the heart and brain until a defibrillator is available.

Chain of survival


In the chain of survival, CPR is performed until a defibrillator is available.

Cardiopulmonary resuscitation is a vital link in the chain. Take note that this chain of survival is comprised of a series of actions that when carried in the proper sequence will provide an individual suffering from a heart attack with a high chance of survival.

  • The primary link in the chain is timely recognition of the cardiac arrest and calling for emergency assistance right away.
  • This is followed by performing CPR until a defibrillator is readily available.
  • The next link is to deliver CPR early with giving importance to the chest compressions until a defibrillator is accessible.
  • After early CPR, provide quick defibrillation using an automated external defibrillator or AEDs.
  • Once the emergency team arrives on the scene, the next link is the delivery of proper advanced life support that typically involves special breathing devices, medications and additional defibrillation shocks if required.

CPR for children

When performing CPR to children 1-8 years old, it is similar to the CPR performed on adults but with minor adjustments.

During chest compressions, the heel of only 1 hand is used instead of using two hands and it is pressed down 2 inches. Perform 5 cycles of 30 chest compressions followed by 2 breaths. An AED can be used to evaluate the heart rhythm if available. In case an AED is not available and the child is still not breathing normally, coughing or moving, you have to continue cycles of 30 compressions followed by 2 breathes until the medical team arrives.

CPR for infants

An infant is a child younger than 1 year of age. Since an infant is smaller than a child, the CPR technique for infants has its own modifications.

  • Smaller breaths are delivered just enough to raise the chest of an infant. Two fingers are used to compress the chest down at about 1 ½ inches.
  • The CPR sequence is the same for a child.
  • Manual defibrillation is the ideal method for infants, however if only an AED is available, it is recommended that a pediatric AED cable will be used.


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